Notorious gangster James “Whitey’’ Bulger was quietly examined at a Boston hospital last Thursday, then returned to the Plymouth jail later that day, according to two people familiar with Bulger’s treatment.
It is unclear what triggered the hospital visit, but after being treated for several hours, the 82-year-old was escorted back to the Plymouth County House of Correction, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.
Bulger, who is awaiting trial for 19 murders, is being held without bail at the jail in a segregation unit, where inmates are generally confined to their cells for 23 hours a day. The Plymouth jail has an infirmary, but does not have a medical ward, so inmates who need round-the-clock medical care are not assigned there.
Boston attorney J.W. Carney Jr., who represents Bulger, would not talk about Bulger’s brief hospital stay, saying, “I do not comment on my client’s health or on his family.’’
Federal authorities and a spokesman for the jail also declined to comment on Bulger’s hospital trip or his condition.
Bulger, a longtime FBI informant, was captured by the FBI in June in Santa Monica, Calif., after more than 16 years on the run.
While he has always been a physical fitness buff, Bulger has for decades suffered from a common ailment that prompts him to take Atenolol, a beta blocker used to treat high blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart.
After his arrest, Bulger, who had been one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, boasted that he used to drive to the Mexican border, park on the US side, and walk into Tijuana to purchase Atenolol. In recent years, his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, purchased his prescriptions at a pharmacy near their rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, prosecutors said.
Bulger is awaiting trial on a federal indictment that includes allegations that he was involved in 19 murders and oversaw a criminal enterprise that extorted bookmakers, drug dealers, and businessmen. His next hearing is Jan. 11 in US District Court in Boston.